Owexator activated the photo resistors in her eyes with a wave of her hand. As she stood in front of the mirror, she turned her metallic body this way and that. After what Scyther had said yesterday, she had decided it was time for a critical evaluation.
“If only my arms had been just a bit shorter,” lamented Owexator as she lifted her arms to look at them better. The ball and socket joint didn’t stand out as it had in the previous versions. A command rang in her positronic brain and her arms lowered themselves in one fluid movement.
Owexator knew the arms weren’t the real problem. What had her worried was the offhand comment she had heard Scyther make to someone at school.
“Why won’t they let me get the new vibration motor?” she said, looking at her hands. “These are useless! How am I supposed to compete with that Sparkatron bitch with these plain old end effectors? With her Lubinator twice as effective and her body made of Magnesium alloy, it isn’t surprising that Scyther has started hanging out with her!”
Owexator wanted to scream with frustration but she knew it’d only worry her dad. Instead, she marched herself to her charger and plugged herself in. She was frustrated with herself for letting Scyther rattle her like that. Her last thoughts were, I am going to make him eat his plug before she went into Sleep Mode.
The first indication that made Upktron realize something was wrong occurred a week ago. He had taken Owexator to a museum exhibit on humans but his daughter had seemed distracted the whole time. It was like the sweet little robotling Upktron had loved had been replaced by a surly, moody adult robot.
This was always a possibility with upgrades thought Upktron, not even trying to pretend that he was paying attention now. How naïve I had been to think I could handle it, he looked up to see his boss still droning on and on in the meeting. I was so wrong — the upgrade hadn’t resulted in small changes in Owexator’s personality as the mecha-surgeon had said it would. It had turned her into a completely new robot!
“We need to unhook ourselves a couple of hours every day to prevent burnouts, bots!” his boss was saying passionately now.
I have tried everything, from counseling to asking her to take some time off school. How can I find out what’s bothering her if she won’t let me into her life?Upktron asked himself for the hundredth time, just as his boss got carried away and banged a fist on the conference table. The table’s surface being made of glass shattered and that was all the worried parent could focus on for some time.
“Owey?” Upktron called out on returning home from work. Then, he remembered that the newly upgraded bot masquerading as his daughter didn’t like being called that. “Owexator, hon. Where are you?” he said while locking the main door behind him.
Knocking at his daughter’s bedroom door didn’t get him any answers either. So, Upktron decided to take the risk of “invading his kid’s privacy” and turned the door knob. The door opened to reveal Owexator still occupied the charging unit.
Upktron did some mental calculations and concluded that something was very wrong. It is Tuesday, which means Owey had her Human History class today. She loved learning about the prehistoric races; she wouldn’t have missed it!
Upktron advanced and disconnected the charger. Owexator’s eyes blinked open and predictably, she looked at her father with a scowl on her pretty facial screen. “What is it, Father?” his offspring asked in that snooty tone Upktron had come to recognize as “Use When Talking to Dad” tone.
“You missed school,” he said simply.
“I didn’t feel like going,” came the bored reply.
“But you love Human History,” Upktron countered.
“Things change, Father. So do people,” Owexator said, as she walked over to her bed and sat down on it with a huff.
That was when it hit Upktron right in the sensors; it was a boy problem! He sighed because he knew it meant it was time to have The Talk with his kid. If only her mother was functional today…But she wasn’t and he was on his own.
“Hon, when two bots love each other…” he began, uber-uncomfortable in his own e-skin. His discomfort was outgunned by the look of horror that formed on his daughter’s face.
“Oh Asimov, Dad… Please don’t!” she pleaded, her teenage angst losing to filial disgust.
“Things can get physical,” he sounded desperate even to himself. “You see, his…his…plug can fit into your re…Dear del Ray…receptacle,” Upktron thought of moving to another continent as he finished. With his head bowed, he had missed the determined gleam in his daughter’s eyes.
“It can be pleasurable for both…teams. You might feel a pinch…” he tried to remember what his wife had said. It seemed like that conversation took place eons ago.
“More like a rip,” Owexator supplied.
“Rip? Yes, rip,” he remembered that was the word his wife had used.
“But only if you don’t turn the Lubinator on,” his daughter amended.
“Of course, that too.” Upktron felt like he was drowning now. He soldiered on, “Male bots can um get short circuited once and….”
“Or twice and even, three times,” his daughter was nodding at him, sagely.
“While female bots can have three-four experiences,” Upktron was going to finish this, Asimov help him. He was going to see this through, he thought. But the images oh the images flooding his mind made things hard. His robotling and that son of a…
“Seven, Dad. I can vouch for 7” she said, almost viciously, which was the last thing he heard.
When Upktron came to, he discovered that being her considerate self, his daughter had got him to his room. She had even plugged him in, the sweet child, he thought as a smile formed on his facial shield. Still smiling, his hands found their way to short term memory storage and pressed the delete button. “Poof!” he said, as his brain whirred to life.